Wednesday, January 19, 2011

How Many Are There?!

I spent my eight years of elementary and middle school life attending international schools in Indonesia. From there, I went to high school in Fairfax, VA (right outside of Washington, D.C.... huge military population). As a result, I have experienced much transiency in classmates and friends. People were always moving into my area/school and people were always leaving. Until I became a teacher at a Title 1 school, though, I had no idea what transiency really meant!
I started off my year with 23 students on my roster. Two and a half months later, I was down to 22 because one girl's family moved and her new apartment was in a different school's zone. Between my personal experience last year and talking to all my teacher friends, this is all too common with our population...
A few weeks after that girl moved, I went temporarily down to 21 students. One girl's parents had both lost their jobs and they were all living at her aunt's house 30 minutes away. I didn't find all of this out until she came back, though, so as far as I knew at the time, she was gone for good. She ended up coming back the day they were going to remove her from my roll (after the 15th consecutive day absent... aka 3 weeks, or a complete unit in every subject's worth, of school). I stayed after school a few nights catching her up on what she missed, and thankfully had lots of help and support from her parents doing so.
A few weeks after she came back was winter break and I left with 22 students. It was a manageable number (a little bigger than ideal, but no where near the 26 in the 5th grade class next to me!!), and I was happy with the way things were going.
Upon arriving back at school in January, I was taking my attendance and noticed a name on my roster with which I was unfamiliar. I quickly emailed the secretary to inquire about this. (The normal protocol for new students is either them being escorted to our classroom by the secretary (if they show up the same day they enroll), or we get a little (dreaded) yellow card in our mailbox telling us he or she will be starting on whichever day.) A few minutes later, she called down so we could figure it all out. Turns out, I was getting a student moved into my classroom from a 5th grade classroom across the hall, per parent request. Apparently someone was supposed to have relayed this information to me prior to the day she was being moved, but I guess everyone thought everyone else was going to take care of that. She was absent the day I got the news, so thankfully I was prepared for her the next day (or at least as much as I could be!... Everyone who heard this news thought it was the CRAZIEST idea ever and in no way beneficial to the child! As it's playing out, though, it seems the parents may have known best, because she's fitting in beautifully with my class and is right on grade level with everything we're doing!) Once again, I was at 23 students and had some more catching up to do!
Life was all well and good until Friday when one of my little sweethearts told me she was moving this weekend. Having been told this many times in the past, I was not quick to believe her, so I just nodded and said "ok" (and she's still on my roster 3 days later, so, as I tell my kids, she's still part of my class!). I should have known she was serious, since, as we were walking toward her bus, she asked "Can I have a hug before I leave?" But, again, she's a sweetie and hugs from her are not uncommon, so didn't think too much of it. We'll see how this one plays out, but all the kids are convinced that she's moved (and since they live in a pretty tight knit community downtown, I should probably take their word for it!).. If that's the case, I'm back down to 22, except..............
Today I got called into the Principal's office (still JUST as scary as an adult!! haha) to find out that I was getting ANOTHER "new" student... from a 4th grade classroom across the hall. Apparently my class is the place to be if you are a misfit in your current classroom!! She was also moved per parent request, and although the principal is not keen on a) succumbing to parents or b) moving students around, in this situation, she thought it best. Just before mom marched into school, though, the girl got into an incident with another student, resulting in a 1-day suspension, meaning she won't be starting in room 21 until Friday....
My grandma is turning 80 on Sunday, so I'll be heading to Wisconsin tomorrow evening and took the day off from school on Friday. How am I supposed to leave a roster/sub plans when I can hardly keep track of who my students are or how many I have?! Haha.
While it can be stressful to have 23 or 24 students, I came to find out quickly that it does have its perks... the main one being that the other classes with fewer students will get any new kids that transfer into our school (aka... less work for me catching them up on everything they've missed so far!!). So, hopefully, this "new" girl will adapt quickly to my class and we can go about the rest of the year with minimal movement in and out of the room!

No comments:

Post a Comment